Interviewed by Alan Daly
Pics: © Olga Kuzmenko Photography
Ever since their inception in 2013 and the release of their first album in 2014 the band has been recognized as one of the hardest working in the German extreme metal underground. Melting the most sinister elements of styles like black metal, doom, and punk, representing unfiltered pure primal rage, Mantar has proven to be one of a kind. Their extremely intense live shows have been seen all over the world and blown away unaware audiences with their extremely tight and brutal performances. Mantar is pure evil elemental force captured by only two uber passionate artists that strife for ultimate raw sonic power.
Alan: Hi. Welcome to Bloodstock. I understand this is your first time playing here?
Erinç: Yeah. We were supposed to play last year, but we couldn’t because we missed a plane or we were double-booked for that day or something like that. So that’s why we’re happy to be here this year.
Alan: Tell us your impressions of the festival so far?
Erinç: It was not raining, then it started to rain, and now it’s stopped again. We’re here about an hour so we didn’t have a chance to watch anything yet. We’re just doing interviews right now, but it looks good. I like it. We might try to watch a band or two after our set, but then we’ve got to leave to go to our hotel because we’re leaving in the middle of the night to fly back. Let’s see what happens after the show.
Alan: Have you got other festivals lined up?
Erinç: We are kind of at the end of our festival season. We have just one more festival left. That’s the Reload festival in Germany, one day after we release our record.
Alan: That’s going to be released on the 24th of August. What can people expect from the new album?
Erinç: People that like Mantar, I think will really like this record. I don’t like to talk like this about my own work, but we really did a good job. It’s kind of like the best thing we ever did. Everybody says this about their newest record, but it’s really good. We are a two piece band and we’re more about passion than technical playing ability. We put a lot of effort into it to make it good, and we’re proud of it. We’re already playing one or two songs at the festivals off the new record, so it’s fun to play.
Alan: What new songs will you play today from the new album?
Erinç: We’re going to play ‘Age of the Absurd’ which was our first single and maybe another one. That can be a surprise.
Alan: I saw an interview you did at the release of your previous record, where when you signed to Nuclear Blast, you said if you weren’t happy with how the album turned out at the end of the recording, you would just throw it away and not release it.
Erinç: Well, we wouldn’t release it until we are confident that it is good. Because we don’t want to put effort into it and then have a shitty record and not want to put it out or say it’s not the best we could do but we have to put it out. No. When we were in the studio in February, we said to ourselves, if it doesn’t work out, we may go to the studio again after the festival season, but we knew that we wanted to put effort into it to make it as good as possible, and that’s something we tell ourselves to lose a bit of the pressure to work harder on it to make it in the first place. But the truth is, yeah, if we don’t like we won’t put it out. It’s not like a job where we do something because it has to be done. We want to make good music.
Alan: That seems like the obvious answer, but I know some bands are under record label pressure to release something every two or three years, and maybe sometimes, they rush something out to satisfy the label. Are there any examples you can think of, where a really great band released a sub-standard album?
Erinç: Yeah… I’m a big Sisters of Mercy fan from the eighties, and there are albums that I don’t like but I don’t want to talk about them. It might be that I might meet my idols at one point and they might have read this interview [laughs]. Maybe the album Vision Thing from Sisters of Mercy. I know there are people that like that, but it may be like a record that was made under the pressure of a record label and contracts.
Alan: Well it sounded like when you signed up with Nuclear Blast that you really wanted to call the shots and have complete control over what and when you released music.
Erinç: We don’t do any pre-demos for the label. We just do everything. We just decided to go into the studio in the States, in the hometown of Hanno in Florida. We mixed it ourselves and it was a lot of effort, and we came to a point where we thought “now, that’s good”. It’s good to have a label trusting you. They kind of leave us be, and they know Mantar would only work like this.
Alan: We really enjoyed the music video for ‘Cross the Cross’. Was that a fun video to make? Who’s idea was that?
Erinç: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. That was Hanno’s idea and we shot it in New York and Brooklyn. We spent two days shooting this video. It’s funny to see how much of the footage was not used in the video. There were some other funnier things going on.
Alan: Being in a two-piece band on the heavier end of music, does that come with difficulties or is it easier with just two members?
Erinç: I kinda got used to it. I really don’t know how it was to work with a bigger band like a four-piece or five-piece. It’s pretty easy. Sometimes, when your traveling alone, we’re just here the two of us, you have to take care of everything yourself. It’s pretty easy to rehearse. The democratic situation is pretty easy. If both of the people don’t like it, you don’t do it.
Alan: If you wanted to introduce someone to your music for the first time, what would you recommend they listen to?
Erinç: I would suggest our first record Death by Burning and the song ‘Spit’. This song probably defines Mantar the most I guess.
Alan: And what about the new album? What’s your favorite song from that?
Erinç: I kinda like ‘Age of the Absurd’ and a new song no-one has heard yet called ‘Taurus’. That’s pretty cool. It’s one of my favorite songs. It even has some kind of hardcore moments. It’s pretty heavy and powerful. We just rehearsed it last week. It’s so much fun and so much energy.
Alan: What’s next for Mantar?
Erinç: We’re going to finish these Summer shows, and then we’re going to take a few weeks off. Maybe two months. And then we’re going to start the Fall tour. There are three or four UK dates in December. And then we’ll take a Christmas break and go out playing shows next year.
Alan: I don’t think you have any shows scheduled in Ireland yet, are there?
Erinç: Not on this tour, but we’re booking a lot of shows for next year already, but I’m not aware of what’s already booked and what’s in progress. I’d love to come to Ireland. A few of my favorite bands are from Ireland. I’m a nineties guy, and I really love Therapy? The funny thing is the bass player, Michael McKeegan is a big Mantar fan. When we played Temples festival like three years ago he came and bought a shirt from me. So that’s a funny thing. I saw them in the nineties, maybe 1994 and I was a big fan.
Alan: Maybe you could swing a Mantar / Therapy? Co-headlining tour?
Erinç: I think so yeah. I would love to do that.
Alan: Any other Irish bands on your list? Cranberries maybe?
Erinç: This is something I shouldn’t talk about. Maybe. I was young! [laughs]
Alan: We’re out of time. Thanks for taking the time.
Mantar have since released ‘Taurus’ off the band’s new album, ‘The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze’, which was released on August 24, 2018 via Nuclear Blast.
Check out the song here:
And here’s a link to the above mentioned ‘Cross the Cross’ Video: